How Aquaponics Gives More 4 The Buck Than Hydroponics Systems
Hydroponics grows plants with water without soil. Nutrients are added to the water to fertilize plants. Fish living in an aquaponics fish tank add nutrients to the water that plants need to grow. Not only does this save a farmer money on fertilizer, the farm raises produce and fish to sell. Hydroponics equals plants and water minus soil; aquaponics equals hydroponics plus fish.
Fish live in tanks and thrive in the protected environment. Fish tank water flows to a garden where the nutrient rich water feeds the roots directly. Like a rain garden, the plants clean the water and add oxygen to it. The cleaner water returns to the fish tank. A farmer has to monitor this system to make sure that water remains cold and full of oxygen. Also, a farmer has to monitor the water pH to make sure it stays balanced, best between 6.5 and 7.
Fish add nutrients to the aquaponics water through feces. Feces are a natural fertilizer absorbed by roots suspended in water by floating raft system aquaponics. Also, fish add ammonia to water, and ammonia raises the pH of the water. Too much ammonia in the water and the fish die. The ammonia in the fish tank water can be handled by bio-filters, saving on chemicals to lower the pH.
The best plants for aquaponics help lower ammonia, yet good bio-filters are key in aquaponics. Beneficial bacteria live on the permanent surfaces of an aquaponics system. The more surface area an aquaponics system, the better the bio-filtering works. Floating raft system aquaponics contribute surface area to host helpful bacteria.
Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter bacteria are a few helpful bacteria. Nitrosomonas bacteria converts ammonia into nitrites by oxidizing ammonia. Nitrobacter bacteria changes nitrites into nitrates by oxidizing nitrites. The best plants for aquaponics can make use of nitrates to grow.
What are good species for the aquaponics fish tank? The tilapia is a fish that tolerates warmer water and lower dissolved oxygen. Tilapia can live in close contact in an aquaponics fish tank, increasing yield. Trout can be raised in an aquaponics environment although trout need colder water and higher dissolved oxygen than tilapia do. One farmer adds snails, which gobble up extra food, dead fish and algae. Tilapia gobble up the snails.
What are the best plants for aquaponics? Mint and watercress work well in aquaponics because these plants require a great deal of water and grow well in floating raft system aquaponics. Lettuce and leafy greens love to grow in flowing water and taste better than greens grown in soil. A few farmers have turned to aquaculture to grow perfect herbs, including basil, fetching a premium price.
A well balanced aquaponics system almost cleans itself. However, filters should be added to screen out particulates. Also, using a siphon, a farmer can remove unwanted organic and inorganic material from grow beds, raft trays and tanks. Shutting down a system for a deep cleaning once a year makes a good practice.